What I Collect and Why with John Russo, John Russo, CEO of Maddox Gallery, discusses his top art investments, tips...
December 8, 2020

What I Collect and Why with John Russo

John Russo, CEO of Maddox Gallery, discusses his top art investments, tips for collecting - and what he hopes to add to his collection in the New Year.

 

CEO of Maddox Gallery, John Russo, is an expert in the fields of art and luxury. We asked him to share an insight into his personal collection, his love of Street Art and his future hopes for his art collection in 2021.


 
What was your most recent purchase and why?

Coca-Cola Bottles by the Miaz Brothers. A hand finished screen-print, Artist Proof. I find their work to be inspiring, experimental and considerate. The work removes sharpness and detail so it becomes all about perception for the viewer. This is from their latest series and I’m eager to add the other works, Campbell’s, Coca Cola Can and Chanel-5.

MIAZ BROTHERS, COCA COLA BOTTLES, 2020


 
Which works or artists are you hoping to add to your collection in 2021?

I’m always looking for street art original work and prints. With a solo exhibition planned for Jerkface at Maddox Gallery in 2021, I will be looking to add his rare print releases to my collection. His work is provocative and he has become renowned for his daring dissections and reimagination of iconic characters. I was quite excited for our recent release of a limited edition sculpture combining Looney Tunes characters to create a new and compelling visual narrative - The demand was so high that we sold out within minutes of its launch.

Buggin

JERKFACE, BUGGIN', 2020


 
Is there a work you regret purchasing?

Fortunately I haven’t had that experience yet! There’s certainly work that I appreciate more than my wife does so inevitably it enjoys storage rather than being on display in our home. My experience of those who regret purchasing artwork is because they haven’t acquired for the most important reason… you have to love it. You have to enjoy it every time you see it or you shouldn’t own it. 

This month, I’ve hung both a Miaz Brothers edition and a Connor Brothers original in our home. Luckily my wife loves them as much as I do!

THE CONNOR BROTHERS, TELL ME BEAUTIFUL UNTRUE THINGS GREEN


 
What work do you wish you had bought when you had the chance? 

There’s two that immediately come to mind. I had the pleasure of spending time with RETNA last year and was offered a work at his studio. At the time I had just negotiated the purchase of many pieces for Maddox and was tempted by one of his works on paper. Maybe it was because it wasn’t ready immediately, but I chose not to purchase it and I do regret it. I’m such a fan of his style and typography. His distinctive constructed script, not immediately decipherable, combined with his composition of fine art and graffiti, makes him one of the greatest street artists alive. 

 RETNA, EVEN THE HEART SKIPS A BEAT, 2016

And three years ago, I was offered a Richard Hambleton work by a private collector. Richard was still alive and my focus was on supporting his legacy and ensuring he had financial support in the final months of his life. I’ve since seen the work achieve great popularity in the secondary market.

RICHARD HAMBLETON, SHADOW HEAD WITH WHITE BACKGROUND, 1992


 
What advice would you give to a first-time collector? 

Find a genre that inspires you. From Pop Art to Street Art, if you can find a genre that you enjoy it will encourage you to explore a variety of artists that you may not have discovered.  

Is there a particular type of art that you love or tend to gravitate towards?

For me, Street Art will forever be my first love and being surrounded by the works of Basquiat, Haring, Kaws. RETNA is my personal goal as a collector. 

JEAN-MICHEL BASQUIAT, FLEXIBLE, 1984/2016


 
Are you a big collector of sculpture?

I am a tremendous fan of sculpture. Especially that which I can see in my home or office. I have a number of collectible pieces from Kaws that I enjoy throughout the home. Right now, the top of my wish list would be to add The Thinker by Joseph Klibansky. We recently had this on display at a dinner in the private members club, Annabel’s. It’s by far one of the most impressive, creative and created pieces I’ve seen. 

JOSEPH KLIBANSKY, THE THINKER, 2019


 
Who would you recommend as the top three blue chip artists to invest in now?

 You simply can’t go wrong when adding Kaws, Basquiat and Haring to your collection.

KAWS,YOU SHOULD KNOW I KNOW, 2015


 

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